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Bankers need not fear men of straw

WHEN this newspaper sparked the ongoing furore over the pensions of retired bankers, we were informed in the most grandiloquent tones by the Finance Minister that such pensions resided on a legal bulwark that could not be challenged.

Three days later, the first crack appeared, courtesy of the niggardly concession by the former AIB CEO Eugene Sheehy.

We live in a strange State when the campaigning instincts of a free press can secure more change than a Finance Minister backed by all of the powers of the State. There again, the relationship between this Government, banks and the many-roomed mansion of Irish vested interests is all too redolent of the tale of the wolf and the three little pigs -- but with one difference. When it comes to reform, our bankers need not live in fear of the wolf of reform; for despite all the wind that gusts from ministerial orifices, when reform is led by straw men, those residing in straw houses have little to fear.